Napster Excuses

from the yes,-but... dept

Play “match the excuse to the legal reasoning” for Napster. Okay, so it’s amusing, but it’s also wrong. It is most certainly legal to distribute music to other people. There are plenty of legal questions as to who actually owns the music, and how they are able to distribute it, but to put this blanket statement that you can’t distribute any music is simply wrong.

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Comments on “Napster Excuses”

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~Penguin~ says:

Re: It's not only wrong, it's theft


Because its not theft, not under current laws. The Home Recording Act makes it perfectly legal for me to come into your house, make a copy of a Cd, tape or song, and take it with me. This is called fair use, and perfectly legal. However if you sell that music, then it becomes piracy. This is crucial to understand because Napster is not making money from their service (not yet at least).

Justifications and such aside, the underlying fact is that what Napster is doing is neither legal nor illegal. There is no absolute right or wrong to what Napster is doing, so the discussion almost always focuses on the morality of the issue: do you think its right, or wrong?

This whole free music thing will not last, laws will be updated with the internet in mind, and life will go on.

Ryan says:

Re: Re: Napster brings it home

This is still the begining of this whole digital rights issue (for any type of content that can or is digitized). The companies and groups that have come after Napster will continue to find ways of offering free stuff. The main issue is finding a point at which owners of digital rights can still make a little money and consumers feel happy to pay (if we’ll ever be able to reach that point).

Mike is there any reason that you only have music that you’ve paid for (of course not that I’m admitting that I use music other than the cd’s that I own 😉 )?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: It's not only wrong, it's theft

That is a very blinkered view. The business model is shifting and people like yourself cannot see that. Your “theft is theft” is very naive, and is the straight-jacket you’ve been brainwashed into.
If getting something for free is stealing, that makes every single person that listens to the radio a thief. It is also legal to record songs off the radio for personal use.
Information naturally wants to be free. People achieve power by manipulating and suppressing information. Your idea that people should only have access to information explicitly designated leads to a communist-like structured society.
Music is information in another format. Long before the Internet, and long before the printed word, news used to be passed along from town to town in the form of ballads by wandering minstrels and troubadours.
Until recently a few large corporations held consumers to ransom by controlling the physical media. This is no longer possible. Not that this is going to destroy their business, just cut the obscene margins an enforced monopoly will enjoy. The tape recorder inspired similar doom-saying that also never happened.
In the mean time, enjoy learning about new artists and new music genres before information gets locked down again. Nobody loses, as you become more broadminded and when the music industry finds a business model that fits and can extract money from you they will find a consumer with a wider range of tastes to sell into.

~Penguin~ says:

Re: Re: It's not only wrong, it's theft

“”The business model is shifting and people like yourself cannot see that. Your “theft is theft” is very naive, and is the straight-jacket you’ve been brainwashed into.””

Could I not say the same thing about your claim, “”How can you not understand that taking music on a CD that you paid for and giving it to another person is anything OTHER than theft?”” as being naive and the product of being brainwashed? The quote is fully incorrect, because
there are laws which makes it legal to take music “on a CD that you paid for and giving it to another person.” I think before you take the moral highground and label people as naieve and brainwashed, you should at least know what you’re talking about.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: It's not only wrong, it's theft

Apparently you’re new to techdirt…

Okay, first of all, the article said that distributing music you don’t own is illegal. That statement is wrong. Because of all the intellectual property laws, for some bizarre reason, the music companies always own the music. Yet, music does get distributed by other companies. So, obviously, it’s not totally illegal… Are you saying that every CD store on the planet is illegal?

I realize that’s not what you’re getting at, though. Napster is not theft. I’m not “justifying a cool idea to get something for free”. I, personally, don’t use Napster. All of the MP3s I have I own on CD. However, I think that fundamentally, Napster is a fine idea that does not break any laws.

First, if you want to get technical, there *are* laws saying that you can distribute copies of music that you have. That’s why it’s okay to make a tape for someone. For personal use it’s fine. If you’re selling it, it’s a different story. But, with Napster, you’re not selling anything.

Second, it’s not *theft* as you say. I don’t know why people don’t seem to understand this, but if I’m *robbed* it means I no longer have the thing that was taken from me. If you come into my house and steal my computer, that’s theft. However, if you take an MP3 of mine, I still have it. That’s not *theft*.

From a pure economic standpoint, music should be given out for free. The price should equal the marginal cost of producing another copy (basic economics). In the case of music, that’s zero. All Napster is, is an extremely efficient marketplace.

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